parents and teenagers





As a child begins to enter adolescence, there appears to be a rise in conflict between the adolescent and parents. The amount of conflict differs from family to family and is dependent on many factors. It is mainly due to the changing characteristics and growing of the adolescent and the way in which the rest of the family adjusts to these changes.
Adolescence is a time of challenge and change for both teens and parents. Teens are at a stage in life where they face a multitude of pressing decisions -- including those about friends, careers, sex, smoking, drinking, drugs and parental values. At the same time, they are confronted with profound physical, social and emotional changes.
Myths of adolescence are perpetuated because adults do not spend the time and effort learning about normal, expected changes during this period. It is much easier for us to put a label on people rather than to try to understand them. The teen years are truly "high speed, high need" years. Here are some concepts of conflict and some areas to look out for.
While most parents realize there are normal struggles between parents and teens as their sons and daughters struggle for independence and identity, they are often shocked by the length and intensity of the conflict. They are stunned by apparent rejection of some of their most sacred values and confused by their teenagers "acting up" and "acting out." In attempting to become psychologically independent of their parents, teens often attempt to move completely away from any control or influence by their parents.
When the rejected teenager reaches the limit of patience and tolerance, he or she lashes out -- rejecting the family, the school, the church, the system and becomes a "runaway." The teen may run away by lying, cheating, stealing, fighting, drinking, using drugs, breaking laws, quitting school, or becoming pregnant. The goal is to hurt, as the teen feels hurt by others.
When the above situations occur, many parents (and teens as well) feel they are caught in a situation that is bad; it doesn\'t make any difference what you do, it still doesn\'t work. Parent and teen are further apart than ever, and both feel terrible. The reasons are many and complex. Often, parents today do not take enough time, working and playing with their children. They need to realize that the family is a complex emotional system, not a business organization. Parents must convey the message of caring, that "you count, you are important." They must nurture, encourage, show firmness, love, guide, respect, facilitate, and "\'let go."
Disagreements arise between parents and teens, usually over a matter of control, and the power struggle over "Who\'s in charge" and "Who\'s right" begins. Conflict often arises when parent and teen disagree over whether or not the teen has acted responsibly enough in the past to make certain decisions more independently in the future.
One reason that the struggle for control continues or heats up is because both parents and teens are human. Parents give up control and then take it back. Teens act responsibly one weekend, irresponsibly the next. There are few things more difficult about being a parent than trying to figure out how to give the teenage son or daughter freedom enough to learn responsibility, self-reliance and the consequences of decision making, yet still keeping some control over behavior that is potentially dangerous.
I think they would tell parents to become aware of the reality of their behaviors and decisions. This could mean to give teen’s clear-cut rules and reasonable limits and expecting them to abide by them. They also need to allow adolescents to experience the consequences of their own behavior, no matter how much parents want to protect them. This does not mean that you stop loving or caring about your teenager. It does mean you stop treating your adolescent like a poor, helpless child. It means expecting the teen to be responsible for his actions, no matter how tough it seems to be on the parent or teen.
As a parent you also have to make sure you have certain expectations that need to be followed. You have to expect cooperation and courtesy at home as well as to be